Q&A with Matt Furness
1. What motivates you?
The feeling of helping people to feel a greater sense of happiness and engagement at work. A slightly less socially desirable but no less true answer would also be to feel well-respected by those around me.
2. How do you handle pressure?
I draw upon various strategies which include working from home to retain my focus, exercise to release tension and calling my best friends to just have a laugh and a joke.
3. What will change most about the world of work in the next few years?
I’m no ‘futurologist’ but I’d guess there are going to be lots of tangible changes in terms of technology and how people work together. I would also estimate there’s likely to be many intangible changes such as employees’ expectations from their employers.
4. What’s your defining career moment so far?
A tough one but I’m proud of helping the leaders of FTSE 100 organisations to shine a light on what their cultures are really like and what they can do to build more of a high-performance, high-engagement culture.
5. What book, film or tv show has really changed the way you thought about something?
‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain. A great manifesto for the power of introversion and combatting the societal biases which all-too-often lead us to favour extraversion.
6. What’s your favourite sport to business lesson or story?
Jamie Vardy’s rise as a professional footballer as a way to demonstrate that you never really know someone’s true potential.
7. What makes you proud?
My academic achievements have always been something that I’ve been proud of as they required dedication, discipline and focus over extended periods of time.
8. What makes you angry?
Probably too much. I’d say general maliciousness towards others, a lack of integrity and bigotry/close-mindedness are certainly up there as the things that bother me most.
9. Which leader do you most admire most and why?
Not one leader comes to mind. What I find fascinating about leadership is that no leader is perfect and that great leaders come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
10. What are your best and worst characteristics?
I would say that my best characteristic is my adaptability; I’m proud of my ability to quickly learn and adapt in new situations and with new tasks. I’d say my worst is my neuroticism, which I constantly feel I have to hide and manage!
11. What would you like to learn and why?
I’d love to learn how to write music and sing (trust me, you don’t want to hear me sing at the moment).
12. Who would you like to invite for a dinner party, living or dead?
These questions really aren’t very easy are they? Probably an ancient Greek philosopher for intellectual stimulation, Plato or Socrates perhaps. Some of my closest friends for immature banter and witty jokes. Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal can tag-team making the food, with Mary Berry responsible for our dessert. A Tarantino-Shakespeare combo can mock up some interesting entertainment for the evening too. Promises to be a cracker of a night.
13. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I don’t know if it’s the best advice that I’ve ever received, but one piece of advice that’s stuck with me is “It’s dangerous to live on principles’. Coming from a family that all-too-often sticks to their guns at all costs, this piece of advice has stuck with me to this day.
14. What would your motto be (if you haven’t already got one)?
“Il faut motter”. This is something that only certain friends will understand the meaning of but it’s definitely a motto I abide by.
15. What personal value would you never compromise?
Fun. Why work or even live if you can’t have some fun along the way?